Jun 14, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) watches his home run during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park. Photo by Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Cincinnati Reds Offseason: A Different Approach.

This was an offseason idea that I wrote in early December, but never really published, on how the Reds could handle their offseason. It’s not the most realistic plan in the world, but it really isn’t that far out there either. Obviously, the Reds went a different direction than I wrote about (as predicted) when they re-signed Ryan Ludwick and traded for Shin-Soo Choo. The Reds now look primed to contend for the World Series. The main reason that I wanted to post this is mostly for novelty, although I don’t think it’s all that bad of an idea. Please keep in mind that I’m not an MLB General Manager.

To start this plan, I assumed that the Reds had about 5 million dollars to spend after taking into account arbitration raises. When you consider Choo’s salary (minus the money that Cleveland sent, of course), and the salaries of the other players that the Reds acquired or signed (this was written after the Broxton signing), that may have been a little low. It looks like Castellini was willing to open his pocketbook more so than I had anticipated. So, I suppose this is an ultra-budget friendly (for 2013 anyhow) plan. Also keep in mind that this is before I knew arbitration salaries, so I took a reasonable guess. It turns out they were pretty close.

August 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Move #1:
REDS TRADE- RF Jay Bruce (-7.50m), SP Mike Leake (-2.50m), CF Billy Hamilton, and SP Kyle Lotzkar.
MARLINS TRADE- RF Giancarlo Stanton(+500k) and RP Steve Cishek (+500k)

Trading Billy Hamilton, obviously, would be a controversial move, as would be trading Jay Bruce. However, we have to consider what Stanton brings to the table. He’s only 23 years old, and is one of the best power hitters in baseball (while hitting in one of the MLB’s toughest power parks.) He also plays excellent defense and hits for a decent average. Not to mention, he is cheap and controllable. He is a four tool player. The Reds would also receive a great reliever in Steve Cishek, who really would push the Reds’ bullpen over the top.

New spending room: ~13 million.

Move #2:

REDS SIGN- CF Cody Ross, 3 years and 22 million (+7.3 million.)

Seeing as Ross signed with the D’Backs for 3 years and 26 million, I was a little low on his salary (although still in the ballpark.) This would give the Reds a decent center fielder (although Choo is definitely the better hitter) with some pop while leaving some room for other moves. As for the center field problem, I do like Walt’s solution better than my own.

New Spending Room: ~5.7 million

Move #3:
REDS TRADE- CF Drew Stubbs (-2.5 million), SP Bronson Arroyo (-11.5 million), SS Didi Gregorius, SP Tim Crabbe, and $7,000,000.
DIAMONDBACKS TRADE- Jason Kubel (+7.50 million) and Willie Bloomquist (+1.90 million)

This would give the Reds the power hitting left fielder they were looking for, as well as a productive backup infielder. Bronson Arroyo is still a decent pitcher, and for around 4.5 million, I don’t think the D’Backs would be too negative on that. Just consider what guys like Jeremy Guthrie got this offseason. The D’Backs had a need to trade an outfielder (before they traded Justin Upton, of course) and this would give them the SS prospect they were looking for (and eventually got in the Bauer trade.) This trade would work out well for both sides, I think.

New Spending Room: ~3.3 million.

Move #4:

REDS SIGN- 3B Scott Rolen (+1.5 million), and OF Juan Rivera (+800k)

New Spending Room: 1 million

This would leave the Reds with a roster looking something like this:

1. Brandon Phillips
2. Zack Cozart
3. Joey Votto
4. Giancarlo Stanton
5. Jason Kubel
6. Todd Frazier
7. Cody Ross
8. Ryan Hanigan

That 3-4-5 is absolutely deadly.

Starting Rotation:

1. Johnny Cueto
2. Mat Latos
3. Aroldis Chapman
4. Homer Bailey
5. Tony Cingrani

CL- Jonathan Broxton
SU- Sean Marshall
RP- Jose Arredondo
RP- JJ Hoover
RP- Alfredo Simon
RP- Sam LeCure
RP- Steve Cishek

IF- Willie Bloomquist
OF- Chris Heisey
IF- Scott Rolen
OF- Juan Rivera
C- Devin Mesoraco

That right there is a World Series winning team.

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  • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

    I especially like that pitching rotation. Good fantasy. :-)

    • Josh Bresser

      I agree!

  • http://twitter.com/JordanBarhorst Jordan Barhorst

    I dunno. There’s merit to having a home-grown team. I’ll agree that Stanton is better than Bruce, but he isn’t Mike Leake AND Billy Hamilton better.

    Cingrani looks to be in the same situation as Hamilton. Just waiting for the guy in his spot (in this case, Arroyo) to leave. I, personally, can’t wait to have two solid lefties in the rotation.

    Personally, I like the 2013 projected roster over this one. That’s just my personal opinion. While the 3-4-5 would be deadly, you’ve still got a hole in the leadoff position. Phillips can bat lead off, but he doesn’t excel there. I think the tradeoff in power betwee Bruce/Ludwick and Stanton/Kubel is worth the OBP at the top (Choo/Phillips over Phillips/Cozart).

    • Josh Bresser

      Thanks for the comment.

      I’d disagree with your point about Stanton not being better than Bruce, Hamilton, and Leake.

      Stanton’s WAR last season was 5.4 while Bruce’s was 1.4 according to Baseball Reference. Leake’s was 0.6. I doubt that Hamilton would be a 3.5 WAR a year player, especially with questionable outfield defense. Being fast is great, you but need to be able to hit to be worth anything (ie- Stubbs.) Whether he’ll be able to hit MLB pitching is yet to be seen, while Stanton has dominated.

      But, even if we assume that Hamilton will be able to hit at the MLB level, I’d still take Stanton. He put those numbers up last year while hitting in Marlin’s Park (which is bad for home run hitters) in limited at bats. He could easily be a 50+ HR guy at GABP, while I’d be skeptical of Bruce cracking 25 outside of Great American. While I wouldn’t expect him to hit .290 from now on, he should post a decent average as well, maybe .270-..275. Not to mention that he plays better defense too. And when you consider that he’s only 23, his potential is ridiculous. The Reds would also be able to have him for several seasons, as opposed to Choo, who will likely leave after next season.

      I definitely agree about Cingrani. Can’t wait to see him get his shot.

      Cozart actually raked in the number 2 spot last year, hitting upwards of .300 (edit- .324 in 102 ABs), which is the second most common spot he hit in last year outside of the leadoff spot. It’s a small sample, sure, but when you look at Cozart’s 2011 and his skills, you know he’s not a sub-.300 OBP guy. Phillips definitely isn’t as good of a leadoff hitter as Choo, that’s for sure. But, I think the overall improvement of the lineup would be worth that slight weakness at the leadoff spot (he really wouldn’t be bad enough to be considered a hole,though, I’d think.)

      Part of the reason why this version appeals to me is because I’m less of a fan of Ludwick and Bruce than most Reds fans are, I guess. But, the possibility of 110+ homers from your 3-4-5-6 spots is hard to ignore. If Ross can avoid regression, throw him in that big power scheme too.

      But, not like this really matters or anything. Just interesting to talk about. Is it opening day yet?

      • beeker

        If Stanton is better than Bruce + Leake + Hamilton, why would the Marlins take a $9M+ payroll hit to come out behind?

        • Josh Bresser

          For Hamilton. They could be a lot more optimistic on Bruce than I am (a lot of people seem to be) and not realize that he probably won’t hit too well in their home park.

          If they thought that Bruce was similar enough to Stanton, then giving up Stanton for Hamilton would be a no brainer. Besides, Stanton’s going to be really expensive in the future (more than 9 million), so if they felt they could trade him at his peak value for the package that the Reds would offer, there’s no reason, from their perspective not to do it. By the time the Marlins have a shot at contention, Stanton will be a 15-20 million dollar a year player. It makes sense for them to go with Bruce for cheaper than that, then bank on Hamilton being solid in the future. As for Leake, everyone wants relatively cheap starting pitching. And in Marlins Park, he might be a mid-3′s ERA pitcher. Jeremy Guthrie got 25 million for worse stats than Leake put up in 2012.

          But, again, this doesn’t matter much seeing as it didn’t happen, nor will it in all likelihood. Thanks for the comment.